Aztag: Right On Time!

RIGHT ON TIME!

by Shahan Kandaharian

Aztag Daily
July 20 2009
Lebanon

No official document has emerged from the meeting that took place
in Moscow between the president of Armenia and the president of
Azerbeidjan. Evidently until this moment no document has been issued
that’s been co-signed by the leaders of the two conflicting sides,
unlike the ‘road map’ which encloses the trilateral agreement that took
place on April 22 aiming at the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish
relations and which hasn’t been disclosed yet. We are drawing this
parallel simply because we believe in the theory of an existing
relation between the Armenian-Turkish and the Armenian-Azerbeidjani
negotiations. The connection of these two issues is being acted out
by the international community, the United States and the mediator
countries.

The mediator tri-presidency was manifesting an obvious haste, evident
in the optimistic stances speaking about a recorded advancement in
the negotiations as well as putting a new or, better to say, a renewed
document on the negotiation table and, as it is often referred to in
the political media, making a breakthrough. This haste was accompanied
by an announcement made by the tri-presidency where the principle of
the integrity of a country overweighed the right of self-determination
of a people. This was a renewed approach as well considering the
fact that the previous announcements made by the co-presidents were
characterized by the equal emphasis on both principles.

Echoes from official Moscow are scarce while media interpretations are
overflowing. Of the few official stances we must mention the evaluation
of the American co-president in which his shock was explicit. The
long meeting that took place in Moscow had disappointed the American
senior diplomat. Prior to Moscow, however, what exactly was going
on on the national internal platform? On the 11th and 12th of July
political, public and academic figures from Armenia, the Republic of
Nagorno Karapagh and the Diaspora gathered in Stepanagerd to discuss
the latest developments in the Armenian-Turkish relations as well
as the Artsakh conflict. The assembly issued a special declaration
where it stressed the faults and weaknesses of the foreign politics
of our country and state on both pathways as well as the necessity of
taking a step backwards from the red line. A while later ARF Armenia
called for public demonstrations in Yerevan at the same time raising
a wave of protest and frustration in the Diaspora countries against
the countries represented in the tri-presidency. Soon came the demand
for the resignation of the foreign minister of Armenia.

Although the protests were understandably halted because of the
national mourning day announced for the crash of the airplane
travelling from Iran to Armenia, nevertheless the public frustration
and the pan-Armenian stance were already molded. Evidently, the
authorities of Armenia found themselves between international
and national pressures. Now Yerevan, locked between the decisions
of signing or not signing the agreement, chose to succumb to the
pressures of the second party. Shocked was Moscow, the architect of
the renewed version of the Madrid principles.

Let us now list the points of the renewed Madrid principles, and then
let us shed a light on Stepanagerd’s stance. What says this renewed
version that’s been put on the negotiation table:

1. The return of the lands surrounding Nagorno Karapagh to Azerbeidjani
control.

2. An intermediary status for Nagorno Karapagh that guarantees the
security and self-government of the enclave.

3. The security of the corridor linking Nagorno Karapagh to Armenia.

4. The final settlement of the legal status of Nagorno Karapagh with
a binding resolution.

5. Immigrants and fugitives be allowed to return to the place of
their permenant residence.

6. International guarantees for security which include peacekeeping
operations.

We must wait for the experts’ evaluations in order to see the
differences of legal explanations of the previous and the renewed
Madrid documents as well as to assesss the main differences between
the two. From a first glance let us note that the main difference is
the temporary status which, in case of an agreement, could become the
permenant status … And as for the use of the word ‘self-government’,
it is nothing different than indicating the refusal of the idea
of independence. Putting aside for a moment the legal terminology
and the issue of a referendum, let us highlight the first points of
the renewed version. This renewed version starts with the demand of
returning the lands surrounding Nagorno Karapagh. Official Stepanagerd
has already put a demand with a separate announcement for the changing
of the framework of negotiations which will include the representatives
of the state of Artsakh Armenians as a negotiating side. The foreign
minister of Armenia, who visited Stepanagerd lately, said that leaving
Karapagh out of the agreement is out of the question.

Moscow meetings are over. No document has been signed. The public
wave has risen right in the proper time and in the proper measure.

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